Monday, March 05, 2012

Israel allows Gaza exports of food to West Bank

From AFP:
Israel on Monday allowed the Palestinians to export two truckloads of date bars from Gaza to the West Bank in what was the first such trade between the territories since 2007, the military and an NGO said.

The rare move was permitted as part of a World Food Programme (WFP) initiative to feed Palestinian school children, Israeli NGO Gisha said in a statement, which hailed the trade as “an important step.”

But the military said it was a “one-off” trade and did not mean its nearly five-year ban on exports between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank was being lifted.

“At the request of the Palestinian Authority, we have allowed the passage from Gaza, through Israel, of two lorries carrying date bars to Judaea and Samaria (the West Bank),” said Guy Inbar, a spokesman for COGAT, the military division in charge of coordinating access to and from Gaza.

“This is a one-off pilot project, and is not a renewal of free exports from Gaza. We want to look into several tax and trade issues,” he said, without elaborating.

Gisha, which campaigns for Palestinian freedom of movement and trade, said the permission was to include 19 trucks in total, in what was “the first exception to a sweeping ban, imposed by Israel in June 2007, on transferring goods from Gaza to markets in Israel and the West Bank.”
Actually, some goods are regularly exported to Israel from Gaza. For example, there were two rockets fired towards Israel last night from Gaza; one of them exploded prematurely.